Farm to Fork: Dinners that stick
Everyone at the Ralph Lauren-ish “barn” dinner organized by Farm to Fork founders Sunday night in Jacksonville left the event with the same thought: Get tickets to the six other dinners before they sell out!
Up until Sunday, the idea of a fabulous meal prepared by talented chefs using fresh-picked, local ingredients was just that – an idea. But after cattle rancher Peter Salant took 60 guests on a very personal tour of his Jacksonville ranch, and the Constant Tourists trio enchanted them with indie, jazz and folk rock music, and appetizers were passed and Valley View Winery’s wines were pour, everyone was hooked on the idea. Then dinner was served family style on long tables inside a red barn and everyone knew – amid the meeting each other, the laughter, the short speeches by the providers – that this evening was special. And requires repeating.
At the end of five courses, everyone was a believer that the best way to support local farmers, ranchers, wineries and chefs is to eat and drink local. And hardy. If huge portions are an example of celebrating the Rogue Valley’s bounty, then keep those platters coming.
The menu was created by two of Farm to Fork’s four founders, Chefs Matthew Domingo and Kristen Lyon:
- Red and white spring radishes stuffed with Mama Terra Micro Creamery’s chevre blended with fresh herbs and topped with pea shoots from One Leaf Microgreens
- SunStone Artisan Bakery‘s toasts topped with spiced carrot puree and creme fraiche and Salant Family Ranch braised beef shoulder paired with Valley View Winery’s 2008 Anna Maria Viognier
- Cowhorn’s Vineyard and Garden’s Biodynamic asparagus made into a soup with wild mushrooms and Oregon truffle oil
- Tender slices of Salant Family Ranch flank steak mixed with Village Farm lettuces, grilled Blue Fox Farm sweet onions and heavenly Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese topped with shallot vinaigrette paired with Valley View Winery’s 2006 Anna Maria Tempranillo
- Juicy Salant Family Ranch New York roast slabs on crispy potatoes a top a sauce made of Village Farm green garlic and grilled Blue Fox Farm scapes paired with a delightful Valley View Winery’s 2006 Anna Maria Syrah
- A plank of vanilla semifreddo topped with Blue Fox Farm rhubarb compote and served with macerated strawberries
While Nobel Coffee Roasting’s (imported, but fair trade) Ethiopian Hafursa and Ugandan Bugisu coffee was being French pressed on the spot, the good-time chatter quieted as Jeff Golden, who is running for Jackson County Commission, was invited to say a few words to close the evening. No one wanted heavy campaign talk, and Golden hit the right key of unity:
“On the campaign trail you run into a lot of gloom out there, most recently after the oil disaster in the Gulf,” he said. “What we’ve heard tonight are exciting, inspiring possibilities for turning our community and country around.”
He praised Farm to Fork and the event’s beneficiaries, food advocate groups such as the Ashland-Talent Growers Collective, Friends of Family Farmers and Rogue Valley Farm to School, as practical programs that help people reconnect to the land and support our local economy.
“It’s up to us to spread the word every way we can think of, to give people we know hope and inspiration and specific ways to get involved, to get motivated again to make a difference,” he added. “The local food movement is showing, right now, today, that it can be the center of that critical shift. Let’s let people know about it!”
FARM TO FORK DINNERS will be held:
June 26 at Dunbar Farms in Medford
July 31 at Restoration Farm in Ashland
August 28 at the Happy Dirt Veggie Patch in Ashland
September 11 at Farm to Fork founder Lori Campbell’s Blackberry Lane farm and garden in Grants Pass
October 9 at Rogue Valley Brambles farm in Talent
November 6 Season Finale location to be announced
The suggested donation for a ticket is $60 (plus gratuity), which includes four to five courses, wine, music and a guided tour of the farm. Tickets for the Season Finale are $35. Proceeds directly benefit local farmers and our local food community.
By Janet Eastman
On June 5, a party will grow at Peter Salant’s remote Jacksonville farm. Musicians will start to perform, guests will arrive and wine will be poured. Then platters of grass-fed beef, wild mushrooms, asparagus and other ingredients raised within reach will be carried out of the kitchen and set under the evening sky on tables that stretch out in front of a garden.
Before sunset, those contributing to the event – farmers, chefs, winemakers and organizers of the Rogue Valley Farm to Fork dinners – will take a bow before a now-stuffed group of people who believe the best food is grown locally and eaten fresh in season.